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How I Define Retro Gaming

It’s easy to figure out where “Retro Gaming” begins, but where does it end?  Where do we draw the line that defines retro gaming, and gaming outside of the current generation? The definition of “retro” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in relation to fashion, but says “relating to, reviving, or being the styles and especially the fashions of the past fashionably nostalgic or old-fashioned“.  All this leaves us with is a very vague “of the past” or “nostalgic” to apply towards Retro Gaming.

My Definition

I have a way that I personally define it, but I admit there are some flaws or outliers in my definition too.  I use my classification of “Retro Gaming” as a way to include more games into the definition, and also to simplify things.  My definition is this:  Retro games are games from the generation before last. (Example: PS4 is current generation, PS3 is last generation, PS2 is retro gaming).

The Argument Against My Definition

I’m sure some of you disagree with that definition, and have some good reasons to reject it.  A strong case could be made that something like the Playstation 2 generation can’t be considered retro because they still had releases as recent as 2013 (FIFA 14 and Pro Evolution Soccer 14).  That’s a very good point, but it’s a bit of an outlier, along with some other titles from the PS2.   The vast majority of PS2 games released in 2007 and beyond were released side by side or ported from the PSP and Wii, it’s also a lot of sports games, music games, or multi-platform movie licensed games.  There are a few exceptions though, like 2008’s Persona 4.   Now I’m not trying to say these games don’t count, but the PS2 was a system that sold over 158 million units and that install base was too large to ignore worldwide for soccer games, and too large for developers to not port the weaker PSP games, or equally powered Wii games to.    Those games gave the PS2 releases way past it’s time, that really make it hard to make a case for it as a “Retro Console”.    From that same generation, the GameCube’s final release was Madden ’08 in August 2007, and the XBox’s final release was Madden ’09 in August 2008, both well after the system was dead.   I have a strong feeling that with digital releases being so popular now, and that almost every indie game doesn’t require much tech power, we will see today’s consoles get releases well into the next generation and maybe even the one after that (if there is one).

How Much Time Has to Pass?

Trying to group a console or generation into the Retro classification is just simpler to do.  Games like Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Time Splitters, and Midnight Club launched with the PS2, they’re 18 years old!  Grand Theft Auto 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Halo are 17 years old, while games like Eternal Darkness, Super Mario Sunshine and Metroid Prime are 16!    I feel like we’ve been calling NES games “Retro” at least since that era,  Super Mario Bros. was 16 years old in 2001 when Super Mario Sunshine came out.   When did we start classifying the SNES as a “retro console”?  The Super Nintendo released in 1991 in America, and it’s last game (Frogger) came out in 1998…it was widely accepted as “retro” by 2009, right?

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Has-Been Heroes

Early on, winning battles and progressing through the game feels rewarding, it kept me coming back to the game for more. However I hit a wall early on and still after 10 hours of play, I’m only able to get deep into a battle with the 2nd Boss. The formula and challenge of Rogue-like games is to teach players to master the game through trial and error until they can beat it without dying. After those 10 hours, I no longer felt reward and began to feel I was wasting my time, even if I was slowly improving at the game.

Maybe I’m bad at Has-Been Heroes, but there is still something to appreciate here. I personally however don’t think this game was worth the money or the time. I only picked this up because there wasn’t anything else early on in the Switch’s life. My opinion on this game has gone down as more time has passed.

  • One of my first experiences with a Rogue-like (not a fan)
  • I enjoy strategy games, so that’s why I had some fun with this early on
  • This was one of the first Switch titles, and I only picked it up and gave it a strong chance because I was desperate for Switch games to play. I would’ve never shown interest in this any other time in the Switch’s life. I’ll probably never play it again
  • Has-Been Heroes (Switch) – First Print

What Wii U Ports Could Still Come To Switch? [Updated]

Updated: Was updated to change Super Mario Maker from possible to doubtful after the announcement of Super Mario Maker 2

As many Wii U owners are aware, Nintendo has ported a lot of their Wii U line-up to the Switch.  Besides filling in gaps in the release Switch’s release schedule, these titles have now been introduced to a larger audience (due to Switch being a bigger success) and also have the ability to be played fully portable.   For the most part, these ports are the “definitive” versions of these games.

Looking at what’s already been ported, and what’s left over on the Wii U, I thought it’d be fun to look and see what other Nintendo games might get ported from the Wii U.

There is a Nintendo Direct coming, and I’m sure some of these will pop-up, so I will update this after those announcements happen.


All of these Nintendo published games have already been ported for the Wi U onto the Switch.   Most of them actually sold better on the Switch than their original Wii U release despite not much new content being added to them.   Here is the full list of Nintendo Wii U Ports

  • Bayonetta / Bayonetta 2 – This is mostly the same as the Wii U versions but they’ve added some amiibo support

  • Captain Toad Treasure Tracker – New Super Mario Odyssey themed levels (New Donk City) were added, and the Super Mario 3D World levels were removed.

  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – The infamouse New Funky Kong Mode was added, this allows something of an “easy mode” by using Funky Kong, who is invincible

  • Hyrule Warriors – 2Player Co-op is now playable in split-screen, where as on the Wii U you had to use the TV and GamePad for different players.

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – This version includes all of the DLC from Mario Kart 8 plus some other additions: 6 new characters, 4 karts, gameplay tweaks and brand new Battle Modes which fills a huge void that was in the Wii U version

  • New Super Mario Bros Deluxe – Mostly the same as the New Super Mario Bros U + New Super Luigi U combo for Wii U but this version adds Toadette / Peachette which make the game easier to play similar to Funk Kong in DKCTF.

  • Pokken Tournament DX – This version adds 5 new characters plus later 2 more were released through DLC

For various reasons that I’ll explain, I think these games have a pretty high chance of getting ported to the Switch.  None of these have been announced for the Switch at this point, but some of them have been rumored.

  • Pikmin 3 – Back in 2015 Miyamoto said the next Pikmin was “near completion”, in a later statement Nintendo confirmed that “Pikmin 4” was in development.  When Miyamoto said the “next” Pikmin, maybe he was referring to Hey! Pikmin for the 3DS which hadn’t been announced yet.  Regardless, I’m sure most agree that Nintendo wouldn’t have referred to that game directly as Pikmin 4 though.    Why does this matter?  Because this likely means Pikmin 4 is coming to the Switch, and if that doesn’t happen in 2019, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo snuck in a Pikmin 3 port to hold us over another year or too.  In my opinion, Pikmin 3 was at a Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Metroid level of quality and polish.  If Pikmin 4 is announced for 2019, then I think the chances of a Pikmin 3 port drops to very doubtful.

  • Super Mario 3D World – This was such a great Super Mario game and it goes very under appreciated.  There was an unfortunate cluster of complaints around this game because it wasn’t a “real” 3D Mario, and it wasn’t like Galaxy (or the eventual Odyssey).  I also was part of the group that wanted a Galaxy 3 more than a sequel to 3D Land, but I was wrong.  Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Wii U game and is by far the best co-op Super Mario game out there.  The game’s style allows unique level design you don’t get in the Galaxy/Odyssey types, or in the 2D “New” games. This is sure to sell, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this sometime late 2019.    I’m also hopeful we get a sequel at some point too.

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Expectations, Speculation & Wishes For the Upcoming Direct

I’d like to keep expectations realistic, and the way I conclude what is realistic, is by looking at the content of past directs.   The best comparison would probably be last year’s Nintendo Direct “mini” that happened on January 11th, 2018.   Like the upcoming Direct, the “mini” was used to kick-start a new year and make some big announcements after closing out a successful holiday season.  In the “mini” we ended up getting several new announcements, 3 New Ports, 2 Remake/Remasters, 3 Newly Announced Games,  2 New DLC’s Announced and 2 Updates.   I would be ecstatic to get an equal line-up of announcements this year, and it’s why I keep pointing out this was labeled as a “mini”

When going into 2018 we were pretty much in the dark about the year’s upcoming line-up.  The only confirmed Nintendo published releases at this point were Bayonetta 2/1 (announced only a month before) and Kirby Star Allies.

In 2019 we already know about several Nintendo published games expected for release:

  • Animal Crossing
  • Luigi’s Mansion 3
  • Daemon X Machina
  • Yoshi’s Crafted World
  • Fire Emblem Three Houses
  • Pokemon (Main Game)
  • Yo-Kai Watch 4
  • Town (Tentative Title)
  • New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe (already released)
  • Bayonetta 3 – (Maybe not 2019)

This probably means we are less likely to get as many “new” announcements this year, but more likely to receive plenty of new information regarding these previously announced titles.   Most of these games we only know are in development and we don’t know anything else as we’ve never seen footage of them.   Surely through the year we will encounter some other surprises and new games too though, but maybe not as much from Nintendo as last year.

Third parties now have had a good amount of time to gauge the market for the Switch, and surely they’ve seen it’s a huge success.  Studios have also had time to sit down with development kits for about 2 years now, so that also means they’re probably ready to start rolling out more projects now.   I wouldn’t be surprised if most of the “new” announcements we get this year are in regards to third party games.

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Here is a re-cap of last January’s Nintendo Direct, just to see the caliber of titles that were announced.

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  • Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze
  • Hyrule Warrios
  • Y’s VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
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  • The World Ends With You: Final Remix
  • Dark Souls Remastered
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  • Mario Tennis Aces
  • SNK Heroines Tag Team Frenzy
  • Fe
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  • Kirby Star Allies Release Date Announcement
  • Payday 2 Release Date Announcement (February 27)’
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  • Donkey Kong DLC (Mario + Rabbids)
  • Luigi Balloon Hunt Free (Super Mario Odyssey)

There’s some rumors and speculation about what’s going to be shown/announced in the next Direct.  I’ve put together a list of things that have been circulating as possibly being announced

  • Already Announced Games Get Updates – We already know we’ll get a look at Fire Emblem 3 Houses, but we might also get to see some Luigi’s Mansion 3, Bayonetta 3 or Animal Crossing updates too. Dragon Quest Builders 2 and Dragon Quest X-S will likely get a release date (and maybe a related Smash character reveal). I would expect a release date for Spyro Trilogy remaster, and definitely expect release date/windows on all of the Capcom and Square Remasters/Ports that were announced in the last Nintendo Direct. Another forgotten title I’m expecting updated release info on is Shakedown Hawaii by VBlank (creators of Retro City Rampage), I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s released in the eShop tomorrow.

  • Assassin’s Creed III RemasterThere have already been leaks that this is coming to Switch, and it was already on the Wii U, so it might not be too hard of a port. The funny thing is, I bought this on 360 and sold it later without ever playing it. After that, I bought it on Wii U and sold it without ever playing it. I wonder if I’ll buy it and play it on Switch.

  • Frostbite Engine on Switch – There’s rumors that EA has got the Frostbite Engine running on the Switch, if that’s true, what games become a possibility?  Most likely it means we get a version of FIFA 20 that will be closer to the PS4/XB1 counterparts, but I do not think we’d get that announcement this soon.    It also opens the possibility for Madden 20, but again, I don’t think that announcement is happening this time of the year (maybe some sort of Madden 19 Super Bowl Edition?).  Battlefield V would be an awesome game for the Switch, but it’d have to be severely gimped, and it’d probably run awful on the Nintendo online service.   So what the hell might they announce!?  Maybe we’ll see a Need For Speed, Plants vs Zombies or maybe even some sort of Anthem port is coming later 2019 to the Switch.
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